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tv   Nightline  ABC  January 19, 2016 12:37am-1:07am EST

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this is "nightline." >> tonight, inside an investigation with a hoax detective. a passionate plea on go fund me reveals an alleged bogus illness claim. how this fake disease investigator uncoverses cull tritts feigning illness. love at first swipe. >> take a look at your dating profile. >> the tricks to finding love online. how this couple found love after swiping right. oscars outrage. over a lack of diversity in this year's nominations. actress jada pinkett smith and
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>> i will not be at the academy awards and i won't be watching. >> after yet another academy award whiteout. but first the "nightline 5." >> when cigarette cravings hit, all i can think about is getting relief. >> only nicorette mini has a patented fast-dissolving formula, relieves sudden cravings fast. >> i never know when i'll need relief. that's why i only choose nicorette mini. zantac heartburn alert, stop. nexium can take 24 hours to work. zantac's different. zantac rushes relief in as little as 30 minutes. for relief without the wait try zantac. no pill relieves heartburn faster. >> number one in just 60
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good evening. thanks for joining us.
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on what appeared to be a cancer-stricken family's go fund me page. a sob story that one hoax detective says turned out to be a tall tale. tonight, inside the investigation as she says she uncovers a couple's attempt to exploit their supposed illness online. and confronts them. here's abc's alex perez. >> reporter: it's a heartbreaking saga. >> let's keep looking through their website. >> hey, my name is julian, i'm making this account for my sick husband jason taylor. i've never done this before, he can really use all the help he can get. >> reporter: jason martinez, apparently stricken with a variety of cancers. >> he's been sick all his life with cancer off and on. for the past five years he's had a brain do you mean which is now three, stomach assume, stage 4 bone cancer -- >> reporter: jason's loyal husband gilian baker takes to the crowd funding internet site go fund me to make the passionate plea, "help save a life."
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knows all too well, the touching tale, the emotional pleas for help and money. just one problem -- she thinks they're lying. >> my name is taryn harper wright and i am a hoax hunter. >> reporter: the 37-year-old former futures trader from chicago prides herself on being called the internet's premier fake illness detective. >> i used to read "nancy drew." something like that, getting to the bottom of a story. >> reporter: she cracked 17 cases of suspected illness fraud in the last three years. part of the soaring internet crime rate that the fbi says costs consumers $800 million a year. her first hoax busted way back in 2012 might sound familiar. remember little eli durr, the courageous 6-year-old cancer survivor known as warrior eli? >> i think he had three types of cancer at one point. >> reporter: the internet had been humming with his story for years. but taryn wright was skeptical. on a hunch she tried searching the web for other places durr photos might have appeared.
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eli's siblings in sunglasses posted on their dad's posed facebook page, also appeared on a site of a popular mommy blogger in of all places south africa. >> i discovered over 70 images of my children. >> reporter: eli's entire story a fake. >> i didn't realize until after the first hoax that i uncovered, i didn't realize how much this impacted people. >> reporter: we met with taryn as she was preparing to post her latest case to her blog, taking a last look at julian and jace's go fund me appeal before posting. >> please, he could use all the help he can get. >> you read that and that's pulling your heart strings if you don't know more. >> definitely. >> reporter: she says he has a psychological behavioral condition, known as munchausen by internet. >> munchausen by internet is a term i coined in 2000 to refer to cases in which people go online and either lie about or
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mark feldman is a preeminent expert on bogus illness claims. >> they do that because they like the emotional gratification they get from having people pay attention to them. >> reporter: but what are jason and julian's claims and why is wrong? to start she says jason doesn't seem to know the first thing about the cancer he has supposedly been battling for years. >> the way that he's describing things, he can't name the type of cancer that he has. he knows it begins with a "c." >> reporter: she says the couple's claims of fatal illness seem contradicted by jason's apparently healthy appearance in photographs. dr. feldman agrees. >> a photograph of him holding a child, looking robust. >> reporter: even claiming jason has rust in his blood from staples allegedly left inside his body that he says put him on dialysis. >> this was among the most highly suspect cases i've ever seen. and i've been looking into these
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>> reporter: the most egregious post according to wright, this picture of jason allegedly close to death from cancer and pneumonia lying in a hospital bed. >> if he had pneumonia, a blood pressure of 174 over 100, the doctor apparently told him he was on his dead bed, he would have an oxygen mask, an iv. he would not have a mask like they give you at the airport for a cough. >> reporter: the monitoring machines according to wright's skeptical fellow bloggers seemingly not connected to his body. and, of course, their repeated requests for money. >> their focus keeps being on money. and so i do think this falls into the criminal realm. julian has previously been arrested and convicted of negotiating worthless strums. taryn says this case all comes down to the go fund me page with a $45,000 fund-raising goal. >> how much money have they raised so far? >> $1,870.
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the people who have donated, i wish i could do so much more, i'm literally in tears looking at your page, i'll send you more when i can. >> reporter: for wright it's time to press send. >> you're about to go live with this. >> reporter: the response, almost instant yus. >> now i just got one from jason. the guy that has cancer. what the hell? it's not a hoax. why would someone lie about being sick? i would never. that's not right. now i figure that's crazy, why would you even say that to me? chemotherapy treatments do not require a co-pay when you're a medicaid patient. >> reporter: the couple insisted they were telling the truth, posting on their go fund me page, i'm really sick and going through a lot and people want to say this kind of stuff, it hurts us bad. why would anyone want to lie about anything so painful as this? just four days after taryn
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me terminated the campaign and refunded all 60 donors. go fund me told us they removed the campaign due to a high velocity of complaints and sent in a statement, we remove any accounts we deem to be fraudulent, ban the campaign organizer from our site, and work actively with law enforcement to help them prosecute criminal activity. after taryn's story posted jason and julian set up a time to meet with abc to tell us their side of the story. but canceled at the last minute. after repeated attempts to interview them failed, we went down to rural alabama to pay them a visit. we're coming up on the trailer home that we believe jason and julian live in. hello! my name is alex perez with abc news, we're trying to find julian or jason? can you help us out? >> they don't live here no more. >> reporter: the landlord later told us they left suddenly without notice and owed money. >> did you hear anything about a
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named taryn wright? were they sick? do you know if any of them was sick? >> i know jason was supposed to be on oxygen 24/7 -- >> reporter: we're going to call them and see if we can find them. let's try julian first. >> the subscriber you have dialed is not in service. >> voice mail. >> reporter: the silence wouldn't last long. the couple reaching out to us by e-mail, denying they had done anything wrong and saying they would talk to us when they were ready. we're still waiting to have that conversation. >> based upon the evidence, this is made up from day one. >> reporter: taryn sees the takedown of jason and julian's go fund me as another feather in her cap, something that would make nancy drew, if real, very proud. for "nightline," i'm alex perez in chicago.
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abc's sister network fusion and signed on with a production company to develop a tv show centered on her investigations. next, singles looking for love online get profile makeovers from experts at love at first swipe. later, big questions about a lack of diversity with oscar nominations. outrage erupting online. for over 850 miles. my men driven nearly mad from starvation and frostbite. today we make history. >>bienvenidos! welcome to the south pole! if you're dora the explorer, you explore. it's what you do. >>what took you so long? if you want to save fifteen percent or more on car insurance, you switch to geico. it's what you do. >>you did it, yay! get fast-acting, long-lasting relief from heartburn with it neutralizes stomach acid and is the only product that forms a protective barrier that helps keep stomach acid in the stomach where it belongs.
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is it me or did it used to be so much easier? you go to a bar or coffee shop, ask someone out, next thing you know you're married. nowadays you're biggest selling point is your dating app.
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can transform your personal brand, whatever that means. and the tricks of the trade that might help you swipe right to find mr. right. heartthrob ben higgins and the beauties competing for his love on this go-round of "the bachelor" make looking for love look glamorous. the only problem, it seems, is choosing the one among so many attractive options. >> do you accept this rose? >> yes, of course. >> reporter: in real life if you're single and looking for love, it's more likely you're glued to a screen. just ask jessica schiffman. >> it's difficult nowadays when people are so attached to their phones and they don't like to have phone conversations. they concentrate on texting, texting, texting. >> reporter: she wants a lasting relationship. >> i'm looking for stability and just a loving partnership.
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love have seeking singles like her, finding a true romance can be daunting amid the explosion of swipe dating aprils. tinder, hinge, bumble, where users determine attraction at the blink of an eye. >> there are good guys out there but it's up to us as women to require them to be good guys. >> reporter: simone is host of "love at first swipe." she says the secret sauce to successful app dating is personal branding. >> that's not the message, i'm guessing, that you want to send to potential suitors. >> i would say blacks, take a deep relax, take a deep breath. decide what you want. decide three things you want to show about your personality. that's all you need. if you know you're creative and love to be funny and love to cook, great. how long we incorporate that in your profile? >> i found nobody read these things. >> reporter: on the show she and cohost clinton kelly give
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>> take a look at your dating profile. >> reporter: both online -- >> holy smokes. >> whoo, girl. >> reporter: and face to face. >> we need to replace that with whatever you want it to be but it needs to be positive. >> reporter: the intervention is geared up with one thing in mind, attracting perhaps less quantity but higher quality matches. swipe dating apps have plenty of critics who say they're superficial, promoting easy hookups over real love. simone is a veteran online dater and says apps can lead to true love. >> you were on tinder two years, how many other dating sites did you try? >> i grew up on them all. all right? >> let's hear it. >> oh my god, the dirty laundry's coming out. i've been on match. i did date someone on e-harmony for a while. >> reporter: she met fiance nathan on tinder. >> did she have a good online profile? if so, what made it good. >> it was amazing. >> oh, thanks, babe.
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>> it was immediately engaging. i swiped right in all of about 0.02 seconds. >> love at first swipe. >> absolutely. >> reporter: within weeks the couple deleted the at pps from their phone. >> what was the deletion ceremony? or was there one? koomd kind of like a rose ceremony in reverse? >> it was. you pull owl your phones. it was like, all right, do you take this no longer being on tinder? before we could even finish, nathan had already deleted, pressed the x button so it was gone. >> reporter: they're now engaged and the rest is tinder history. >> do you have a ring? >> we've got a ring. >> reporter: jess cass hoping for the same happy ending but having a hard time mastering the apps. >> the swiping left and right, i couldn't just base what i wanted just looking at a picture. >> reporter: so laurel house, a los angeles-based love guru, is coaching jessica via skype on how to turn her online matches
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>> the expectation on an app is immediate gratification. instead of just dismissing him you need to teach him, this is my expectation. >> you can find a relationship on swipe dating apps. but you have to make sure that you take control of the app. >> reporter: to do that she advises, insist on talking, not just texting. >> you want to have a phone call before you go out so that you can talk to them, you can get to know them a little bit, before you meet them in person. >> reporter: next, perfect your photos. this was devin's profile pic when she met nathan. >> it showed my silhouette so you could see my figure. the reason i did that is because it was something that would make someone want to look at the rest of the pictures. >> reporter: devin says many people don't strike the right balance. >> what would your grandfather say about this? >> something along the lines of, get dressed. >> reporter: it's something that she and clinton try to correct on the show. >> i never thought dresses looked flattering on me. but seeing it, seeing it put together this way, wow, i'm trying not to get emotional.
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>> reporter: believe it or not there are even professional photographers like tinderheadshots.com on will help put your best face forward. >> you want to be the star of your photo. there shouldn't be a lot of animals in front of you, there shouldn't be a terrible, harsh, low lighting so they can't see you. you shouldn't be with 20 friends that look like you or better than you because maybe they dressed up and you were in sweats. you want to highlight yourself. >> reporter: once you score the date, be sure you're both looking for the same thing. >> if someone starts with "of i love your lips, you have sexy lips," okay, i know where this is going, delete. don't engage. don't even respond. delete. >> reporter: with the help of her coach, jessica is now back on tinder with a new and improved profile. >> i want a relationship. i want to be with somebody who i can be with forever. i know it sounds very cinderella. but that's what i want. an honest, stable, loving relationship.
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right for mr. right. >> that's love at first swipe airing fridays on tlc. up next, the oscars controversy. why some of hollywood's biggest stars say they won't be attending, or even watching the big night. huh. introducing centrum vitamints. a brand new multivitamin you enjoy like a mint. with a full spectrum of essential nutrients... surprisingly smooth, refreshingly cool. i see you found the vitamints. new centrum vitamints. a delicious new way to get your
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it's a hollywood sequel that has some of the industry's biggest stars saying they'll boycott its most celebrated night. for the second year in a row all best acting oscar nominees are white. and tonight as americans honor
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king jr., two african-american hollywood stars say they're skipping the show. here's abc's linsey davis. >> reporter: "the revenant." "spotlight." >> it's the whole country, it's the whole world. >> reporter: the martian. >> it's space. it doesn't cooperate. >> reporter: many of this year's best picture nominations are high intensity. tonight the real drama is happening off-screen as backlash mounts over the oscars' lack of diversity. for the second year in row, all best, lead, and supporting actor and actress nominees are white. even the best picture nominees feature predominantly white ensembles. the absence of minor nominees inspiring big names to declare they'll boycott the ceremony. including director spike lee whose film "shy rock" didn't pick up nominations. jada pinkett smith also says she
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this video on facebook earlier today. >> begging for acknowledgement or even asking diminishes dignity. >> reporter: the hash tag oscarssowhite is making a revival. people tweeting 50 shades of grey has been nominated for more oscars than people of color this year. and oscars so white rocky got nominated in a movie about apollo creed's son. among the snubbed, will submit, who played a forensic pathologist in "concussion." >> that was dope. >> reporter: the critically acclaimed "straight outta compton" picked up one nomination for screenplay. many noted the writers are white. cheryl boon isaacs, the first black president of the academy, has said incorporating minorities in the film industry is a priority. >> we are louder and louder and we're going to continue this conversation. >> reporter: she announced the
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review of membership in hopes of increasing diversity. the spotlight is now on comedian chris rock. he's this year's host. and many are wondering if he'll address the controversy onsame. earlier this week he tweeted out a new promo. >> i might curse! >> reporter: a caption calling the oscars the white b.e.t. awards. for "nightline," i'm linsey davis in new york. >> the academy awards air february 28th on abc. thanks for watching. tune into gma tomorrow. as always we're online on our "nightline" facebook page and at abcnews.com. baby, it is cold outside. "the list" is up now. three high tech low cost ways to keep your home warm and stay energy efficient. >> then skip the spa.
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